Primary Memory and Secondary Memory in Dementia of the Alzheimer Type

Robert S. Wilson, Lynd D. Bacon, Jacob H. Fox, Alfred W. Kaszniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Free recall of word lists was investigated in a sample of 47 patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT) and 31 normal controls of equivalent age and education. Recall was divided into primary memory (PM) and secondary memory (SM) components based on the number of items intervening between presentation and recall. The findings were as follows: (1) the patients showed a greater deficit on the SM than on the PM measure; (2) there was little evidence of proactive interference in the patient group; (3) the PM and SM measures were independent in the controls but not in the patient group; and, (4) the size of patients’ PM deficit increased linearly with increasing items between presentation and attempted recall. These results suggest that the memory disorder of DAT is partially the result of defective PM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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